Chinese Gun with Bamboo Sight. The Illustrated London News (12 November 1842): 420. Image scan and text by Philip V. Allingham.

On June 19th, after just two broadsides, according to the London journal's correspondent, the Chinese abandoned any attempt to defend Shang-Hai; on the day following, the British expeditionary force, ably supported by the armed paddlewheeler Nemesis (not "H. M. S." since it was owned by the East India Company and merely "loaned" to the military), captured a battery 50 miles upriver, at a point navigated by two iron steamers. Some 253 heavy guns of the type depicted in the ILN, each eleven feet long, were captured and neutralized. "The whole were mounted on pivot carriages of new and efficient construction, and it was likewise observed that they were fitted with bamboo sights." The reader is left to conclude that the Chinese defeat was the result of a lack of determination and courage on the part of the Asian force rather than the inferiority of their weapons.


The Illustrated London News I, No. 27 (12 November 1842): 420.

Last modified 16 September 2006